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Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Review

14

Category : Hoagies, Sandwiches, Subs

Jimmy John's on Federal Highway in Fort LauderdaleJimmy John’s likes to refer to their product as “Gourmet Sandwiches”, but anything in a long hoagie roll I call a sub. The ‘sandwich/sub’ genre of food is probably the most crowded for downtown eaters. In just minutes we have access to Jimmy John’s, Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Subway and a slew of other mom and pop stores that pepper the downtown landscape.

Located in a small plaza on Federal Highway just outside downtown Fort Lauderdale, Jimmy John’s is surprisingly easy to get in and out of. Ordering is shockingly faster than most places and the menu is straightforward and easy.

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
Website: Yes
Phone: (954) 467.1777
City: Fort Lauderdale
Location (map): S. Federal Hwy
Delivery: Yes
Outdoor seating: Yes
Lunch $: $6-$9 approx.
Dinner $: same

They offer a variety of subs and are notable for their delicious bread they bake to make each sandwich with.

Even though ordering is ultra fast, they do offer delivery.  You can often see the Jimmy John’s delivery cars whiz by the downtown area with the little advertisement on the top of their car.

Prices are decent and they do have a repeat customer card you can use to earn yourself a free sub once in awhile.

Todd’s Review of the Billy Club Sandwich:

Two Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches ready for consumptionToday I decided to get a “Giant Club Sandwich”, which later I compared to Brandon’s regular sized ($1 cheaper) sub and they are pretty much identical. The Billy Club has roast beef and smoked ham, complimented with provolone cheese, lettuce, Dijon mustard, mayo and tomato. As I always do, I removed the tomato. No need for those vile little things messing up my sub.

Jimmy John’s makes a solid sub that is better than most of it’s competitors. The sub roll is often the unsung hero of a good sandwich, and Jimmy John’s has a tasty recipe that is relatively moist giving a full bodied feeling. The main flavors coming from the sub are the deep flavors of the beef, not being overpowered by the mustard or mayo.

At 8″, this sized sub satisfies the typical American eater. I got a combo that included chips and a drink, but in reality, the sub by itself would be sufficient for my lunch. It’s a good size that won’t disappoint. The meat and ‘fixins’ aren’t exactly overflowing out of the sub, but it makes for a just right amount of everything. What’s most important to me is taste followed by volume. This sub scores well on both marks.

Is it the best sub in the area? No. I would argue that Firehouse Subs makes a slightly better sub as does Publix (believe it or not). A future trip to LaSpadas’s should help determine who has the best in the area. In a crowded south florida sandwich market, Jimmy John’s is one I would recommend however. Better than most, average pricing, quick and consistent service and a good tasting sub make for a winning combo.

Todd’s score: 82/100
Pro: Moist roll, meats taste good, good balance of toppings, subs travel well.
Con: I have to pack my own to go order, while good it is sort of ordinary.

Brandon’s Review of the Beach Club Sandwich:

Two Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches ready for consumptionToday I ordered the Beach Club sandwich which consisted of turkey, provolone, tomato, cucumber, avocado spread and mayonnaise (I had them hold the alfalfa sprouts). As a testament to their amazingly fast service, I kid you not that my sandwich was ready to go before I put my wallet back in my back pocket. Yes I was impressed.

Back at the office when it came time to eat the sandwich, I unwrapped it with great anticipation. It actually looked very good and comparable to the pictures on Jimmy John’s website and in the restaurant. (So many times the picture of the food looks nothing like what you actually receive). As expected based on the smell of the bread, the sandwich itself was delicious. The bread was crispy on the outside while maintaining an exceptional chewiness on the inside. As I ate the sub, I noticed the turkey and cheese sliding out the other end of the bread which made the sandwich look bigger than it actually was. The standard size sub that I ordered was plenty filling and quite satisfying.

Overall I enjoyed Jimmy John’s quite a lot and expect to be back there again many times in the days ahead. Given that Jimmy John’s is a sandwich chain I’ll compare them to other restaurant sandwich chains and as such I would place them in the following order:

1.) Tie – Jimmy John’s & Firehouse Subs

2.) Quiznos

3.) Subway

As we review more sandwich restaurants in the south florida/ft. lauderdale area, I expect this order may change.

Brandon’s score: 85/100
Pro: Delicious bread, unique menu options, price comparable to competition.
Con: Not a huge menu; Some people may find options bland

Todd’s review of the ClubTuna:

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches - Club TunaTuna subs are a sinful guilty pleasure of mine.  38 grams of fat might be a little high, but ooooh, they taste so good.  Jimmy John’s made my sub in lightning speed.  By the time I picked the flavor of ships I was going to get, it was ready!

Getting back to the office, I noticed they added some gourmet touches with toppings like alphalpha sprouts, and a fresh provolone cheese that was abnormally rich (in a good way) which complimented this sub.  Though the photo only shows ‘the fixins’ piled on top, there was plenty of tuna underneath.

There tuna is very good, better than the subway tuna sub for sure.  Fresh bread that is consistent along with unique toppings, flavorful cheese and of course, tasty tuna make the difference.  It’s a good change of pace compared to the typical blend of meats most subs consist of.

Todd’s score: 84/100
Pros: Good tasting tuna sub with some unique toppings, made lighting quick!
Cons: Sorta pricey when you get chips and drink (combo) at $8.75

Todd’s Review of the Bootlegger Club Sandwich:

Jimmy John's - Bootlegger ClubThough I would try something new today.  The Bootlegger Club has turkey and roast beef, with some basic condiments like lettuce, provolone cheese and mayo.  A couple of bites in and I was already feeling a little lack-luster.

Having eaten so many subs recently that offer that extra something, this one is just too basic.  Meat and bread is about all you really taste as you go through the sub.  Looking above at my Billy Club review, perhaps that dijon mustard really makes the difference.  Firehouse makes a hot version of this sub that is really quite good.  I’ll have to review that one soon.

On the positive side the sub is a good size and you’ll be full after having eaten it, but this is one Jimmy John’s sandwich I would recommend skipping.

Jimmy Johns - Repeater Eater CardNot all is lost however, having ordered 2 subs today (I picked up one for Brandon as well), I got 2 stamps on my Repeater Eater Card, so that means 1 more sub and I’ve got a freebee on the way.  It sure takes awhile to get that free sub!

So, no high praise today, but good to know what works and what doesnt at Jimmy John’s.  I will also add that I came to Jimmy John’s at a busy time, but their staff was able to crank out my order very quickly which was very impressive.

Todd’s score: 62/100
Pros: Fills you up, meats have a good taste
Cons: Sub is just too basic.  Only flavors are from the meats, needs… something

Todd’s review of the Vito Italian Sandwich:

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches - Vito Italian SubIn another attempt to find Jimmy John’s best sandwich, I quest and try something new.  As a lifelong fan of Italian subs, I finally give the “Vito” a try (their version of an Italian sub) which has “The original Italian sub with genoa salami, provolone, capicola, onion, lettuce, tomato & a real tasty Italian vinaigrette. (Hot peppers by request)”.

I got mine without tomato as I always do of course!

Unwrapping my sub I uttered a little ‘hmph’ sound wen inspecting the goodies within.  In a single word, I would describe my findings as ‘thin’.  The meats combined only were a few millimeters thick.

Taste-wise the sub was just okay.  It was a typical Italian sub but it was lacking in overall quality and taste.  Usually I get mustard and mayo on mine, but ordered “as is”, the sub doesn’t have either.  I should have inspected the toppings more closely when I ordered, as this may have made a big difference.  Lastly, the hot peppers I got were actually too strong for the sub, they overpowered it and I ended up picking most of them off.

Personally, my favorite Italian Sub is from Laspada’s and Publix.

With that said, my quest for the perfect Jimmy John’s sub will continue.  For now, I am content with some of the others I’ve reviewed already.

Todd’s Score: 73/100
Pros: decent toppings
Cons: Skimpy, peppers were overpowering, taste was a little lacking.

Waiting to order our subs at Jimmy John's The Jimmy John's Menu

Mr. Nicks Sub Shoppe Review

Category : Hoagies, Subs

Mr Nicks Subs - view of the restaurantMr Nick’s Sub Shoppe is really more of a stand than a restaurant.  There is no indoor seating, but there is an outdoor area that is under a canopy that seats about 30 people.  The Sub Shoppe is located on S. Andrews Avenue just a stones thrown from the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.  You could probably walk the distance (one way) in about 10 minutes, or hop in a car for a quick ride.  Parking is no problem with a large dirt lot directly behind the shoppe, in addition to a few spaces right along side the restaurant.

They are only open on weekdays and Saturday during the extended lunch period, closing before the dinner crowd would be interested.

Their menu is simple, but big enough to offer some variety.  Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and a handful of subs they specialize in.  Pricing is affordable on just about everything.

The Shoppe is quaint and straight to the point with customers that are varied including construction workers and lawyers.  This is usually as good sign that you get good food and good value.

Todd reviews the Gourmet Steak Sub:

Mr Nicks Subs - gourmet cheese steak subWith this being my first stop at Mr. Nicks, I asked what was the “premiere sub” I should try.  Without hesitation they said their cheese steak subs.  I looked at the menu and there were 7 different varieties to try.  One stood out as unique: the “Gourmet Steak” which has steak, grilled onions sautéed in butter wine sauce and topped with mushrooms, green peppers and swiss cheese… honestly, how can you go wrong with that?

A 6″ sub will run you $5.75 with a 12″ going for $9.75.  I ordered a 6″ with chips and a coke which came to $7.75 after tax.  Not bad.

Upon returning to the office, I opened up my prize and was impressed with all the goods inside the sub roll.  The bread seemed to maintain its integrity without getting soggy (like many local restaurants have issues with).  So this was great!

This is a classic cheese steak that really did have that extra little magic.  The butter wine sauce that was used to sauté the onions had a nice mild background flavor that added to the experience rather than over power it.  I really couldn’t ask for a better sub.  The chips and drink were more for filler, and if I had it to do over again, I’d skip the chips and just get the 12″ sub.  It really was a treat.

Mr Nick’s Subs are straight to the point… You aren’t paying for ambiance, views or for extra frills, instead they give you darn good food for a good value.

Todd’s score: 88/100
Pros: That’s a good cheese steak!  The butter-wine had a subtle but fantastic flavor, good value.
Con’s: A dirt parking lot is no fun when it rains, no indoor seating.

Todd reviews the Pizza Steak Sub:

Mr Nicks Subs – Pizza Steak SubReturning a couple weeks later from my original review I thought I’d try another cheese steak, but one of a different variety.  Browsing the list of 6 or so different cheese steak opinions I finally decided on the Pizza Steak.  Steak and Provolone cheese with pizza sauce.  Simple but all ‘feel good’ ingredients.

Remembering I wanted more from the last review, I got the 12″ sub and skipped the chips.  The sub plus a large coke comes in to over $11 after tax, so its no longer a cheap meal.

They called out my order and I quickly grabbed it and chose a seat at one of their outdoor tables.  I was pleasantly surprised how big the sub was, but at the same time knew I couldn’t eat it all.

Mr Nick’s delivered another consistently good sub with  good seasoned steak and lots of provolone cheese.  Pizza sauce was ladled over top to add a little extra flavor.  After a few bites I was missing some of the other items the Gourmet sub had (like the sauteed onions and green peppers), but it was still a good sub without these.

In conclusion, I’ll score this sub a little less because the 12″ has a littleless value and this particular sub wasn’t quite quite as good as the Gourmet Steak Sub.  However, it was still a satisfying and tasty meal!  You really can’t go wrong.

Todd’s Score: 82/100
Pros: huge sub makes for a satisfying meal, steak and cheese are top notch.
Cons: $11 is a bit much for a 12″ sub, pizza sub is a little too plain for my likings (I wanted the green peppers and onions again).

Mr Nicks Subs - easy menu and ordering Mr Nicks Subs - outdoor seating under canopy

Firehouse Subs Review

Category : Hoagies, Sandwiches, Subs

Firehouse Subs - view of the restarauntFirehouse is one of the fastest growing chains in the US, with locations popping up all over the place.  Residents of downtown Fort Lauderdale are about a 7 minute drive to the closest one, which is located in the Harbor Shops Plaza off of 17th street (west of the bridge).  Firehousesubs.com shows 3 Firehouse Subs within a stones throw of downtown, and 8 locations total in Broward County.

Parking is never a problem, but getting in and out of the plaza always requires just a little work due to the busy intersection on 17th street.

The restaurant is casual and has plenty of seating and even a couple tables outside.  Lively and colorful decoration give patrons the feeling they are at a mini Firehouse attraction.  They are also kid friendly as I see children getting free firehats when they come into Firehouse.

Todd’s review of the Firehouse Hero Sub

Firehouse Subs - Firehouse Hero SubFor a little under $8, you can get a ‘medium’ sized (8 inch) sub combo, which comes with a fountain drink and a bag of chips.  While bigger than a subway sub, its actually just a little smaller (or significantly smaller) than the other subs and hoagies we’ve reviewed recently.  Regardless of this, the combo makes for a satisfying meal that will fill you up.

What makes Firehouse subs unique is that their subs are served hot.  The meat is steamed prior to assembly and it makes for a different experience.  Subs are made “fully involved” which means complete with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and a dillpickle on the side.  As always, I have them hold the tomato.  The Hero sub is a 3-meat combo sub with roast beef, turkey and ham, topped with provolone cheese.  It’s a hearty sub with lots of great flavors going on!

For the best experience, I recommend eating in the restaurant (versus taking it back to the office).  Hot subs don’t seem to survive the trip back as well as some meals do.  They cool off and the bread can get a little soggy.  Eating it fresh however makes for a wonderful experience and this is where Firehouse Subs shines best.

Firehouse Subs - a sampling of the many hot sauces you can tryThe first few bites are always the best… everything is in its place and the meat is still plenty hot.  Browsing through their hot sauce collection and adding some kick to my subs adds some charisma to a (usually) boring sub eating experience.  Almost every sub I eat ends up spicy because I put a couple teaspoons of hot sauce on it.  I also like the large variety of hot sauces they have…  I see sauces here that I have never seen in stores before, so it makes it fun to experiment each time you visit.

With so many sandwich/sub/hoagie places to visit, it often makes for a difficult decision as to where to go, but Firehouse does carve a unique niche with their hot sauces and hot subs.  They are certainly better than subway and Quizno’s, and they offer a different taste than some of the other highly rated places like Laspada’s and Jimmy Johns.

Todd’s score: 84/100
Pros: great hot sub when eaten fresh at restaurant, decent value, awesome hot sauces to choose from
Cons: subs don’t travel so well

Firehouse Subs - view from the inside Firehouse Subs - decorated like a firehouse with real equipment

Laspada’s Original Hoagies Review

5

Category : Hoagies, Sandwiches, Subs

Laspadas Original Hoagies - Outside with limited seating

Laspadas Original Hoagies – Outside with limited seating

Laspada’s Original Hoagies rounds-up this week’s reviews.  While in Davie, Florida for a workshop I had about an hour to grab lunch.  Laspada’s had been recommended as a place to try…

Located in Davie in an (easy to miss) plaza off of University Drive (about a half mile south of 595), this restaurant is one of four locations in south Florida.  The other locations are in Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Coral Springs and a new spot in Boca Raton.

I can honestly say that getting a meal from Laspada’s has an element of an ‘event’ associated with it.  As I entered the restaurant there was a fairly long line, but after a couple minutes of observation it started to feel like I was waiting for a ride at Disney.  I spoke with one patron that said he made this his Friday lunch, every week.  People waiting to be served are entertained as the hoagie makers are slinging fresh cut meat through the air onto hoagie rolls.

Todd’s Review of the Buffalo Chicken Hoagie:

The Laspada's Buffalo Chicken Hoagie

The Laspada’s Buffalo Chicken Hoagie

Todd Reviews Laspada’s Buffalo Chicken Hoagie This review is an easy one. I basically picked one of my favorite dishes in the area to review and then tell you about all its great qualities.

Sub (Hoagie) Shops seem to be a dime a dozen. They all have the same basic formula… hoagie roll, sliced deli meat, veggie toppings, and condiments & voila, there’s your sub.

Having been a long time customer of Laspada’s, I was reluctant to try the Buffalo Chicken Hoagie for quite some time because quite frankly, the other hoagies I had tried were so good. They make a wonderful Turkey, Monster (Roast beef, ham and turkey), and even a great Italian hoagie. A chicken hoagie never seemed to scream out to me as one to try, until one day…

The Buffalo chicken they use is subtle. It’s very much like a carved chicken breast with just a hint of buffalo flavoring. It certainly does not overpower the other various flavors that are required to make this hoagie the best one in south Florida. That is quite a title, but until I find one better, this is what I eat at least once a week for the moment.

To make it just right, this is how I order it. I get a small (8 inch) Buffalo Chicken sub with:

  • Wheat hoagie roll
  • Light mayo and extra yellow mustard
  • A little ‘Hot Sauce’ added to the meat (Frank’s Red Hot)
  • Provolone cheese
  • Lettuce, onion and sweet peppers (very important)
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, oil, vinegar

The portions of the ingredients are flawless and the flavors of each ingredient listed above fuse together to create a harmonic bliss that lasts the entire way through the meal.

This “small” hoagie is plenty of food to fill you up too, for the typical appetite. Hungry man appetites are more than welcome to get their huge 12” hoagie for just a couple bucks more. If you want a little something more, they have a rare but delicious potato chip called Zapp’s Voodoo Chips that is worth the extra price.

This is a perfect meal in my opinion. Extremely tasty and it easily bests any sub in the area. If I am wrong, please contact me so I can review that better sub.

Todd’s Score: 97/100
Pros: Unique hoagie that happens to be the best tasting hoagie I know.  Wonderful flavor, good value, consistent perfection every time I order it.  Large and filling.
Cons: None. Honestly, if I could think of anything I would list it… lines can be long at the store perhaps?

Todd’s Review of the Italian Special:

Laspadas Original Hoagies - Italian sub, chips and a cokeI ordered my tried and true favorite sub, the “Italian special” which has the typical Boiled Ham, Genoa Salami, Italian Cappicola and Provolone Cheese. Each type of meat was cut fresh from blocks of quality meat as you order your food.  I added green peppers, lettuce, sweet and hot peppers with yellow mustard and mayo.

Laspada’s also carries a large number of chips you can get with your sub.  I got a 2 oz bag of ZAPP’S Spicy Creole Tomato Spiked with Tabasco, which I would highly recommend.  My 8″ hoagie, chips and large coke came to over $10, a little pricey but the amount of food that gets you will surprise you.  The chips and drink are typical, but this 8″ hoagie is no typical sandwich.

I was lucky to get a seat at one of their outdoor tables.  Upon opening my hoagie I was surprised at how large it actually was.  This has got to be the largest 8″ sub I have ever purchased.  The great news is the taste was there to match.  This was a dynamite Italian sub!  The meats were distinctly fresh and full of flavor.  Having them cut on the spot makes a huge difference… trust me.  The bread used to make the hoagie roll is moist and perfectly chewy.  It reminds me of bread that Jimmy John’s uses, but quite a bit larger.  When they make your sub and add all your toppings, they finish it my wrapping a slice of meat on top to help contain all the fixins and keep them in place.

Laspada’s really does deliver one of the best cold subs I’ve ever had, if not the best ever.  I say cold because as I was eating it I realized that I classify a hot sub and a cold sub as separate genres.  Somehow they satisfy in different ways.

Laspada’s top quality meat, toppings and enormous size absolutely will not disappoint.  I highly recommend Laspada’s and would even say it’s worth driving a few extra miles for this special treat.

Todd’s Score: 90/100
Pros:Tastes great, huge size, priced well considering how large the hoagie is.  Unique Chip options. Entertaining to watch them make your sub.
Cons: Very limited seating, not a lot of locations.

Laspadas Original Hoagies - Sign Laspadas Original Hoagies - Menu Laspadas Original Hoagies - Always a line for food Laspadas Original Hoagies - All meat is sliced fresh as you order Laspadas Original Hoagies - I'll take hot and sweet peppers please Laspadas Original Hoagies - 2 hoagies almost ready Laspadas Original Hoagies - Italian sub